Early Career

To BIG or Not Too BIG?

Last spring I was faced to choose between a 700-student program and a 240-student program. I was contemplating whether a bigger or smaller class would suit me more and saw the benefits for both options.

The benefits to being part of a 700 student program were the opportunity to significantly increase my network vs. a smaller class and having a higher chance of meeting friends that share my hobbies and values. On the other hand, the benefit of being part of a smaller class was having a larger influence on the class.

At the end, I choose the smaller class program.

In the past 8 weeks at Berkeley-Haas I have truly understood the uniqueness of being part of a small class. First, the fact that I know most of my classmates by name make it easier for me to reach out and connect with others; when I walk out to the courtyard for lunch, I look around and feel comfortable to join any table.

Second, I feel that the small class structure supports international students associating with American students; the small class structure creates a dependence on each student, and leads to high collaboration.

Obviously, I can only testify to the benefits of a small class program, as this is the only one I have experienced. However, I encourage you, as a prospective student, to ask students how the class size plays a factor in their MBA experience.

Noa Elan, Forté Fellow
Class of 2014, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

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